Consumer spending to increase for holidays; gift cards to be popular
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — More than half of consumers say they plan to spend $500 or more on gifts this holiday season, slightly more than what they planned on spending in 2011, according to PriceGrabber’s winter holiday shopping survey.
The survey of online shopping consumers, conducted from Aug. 31 to Sept. 12, revealed that 75% planned to shop with online retailers, 74% said they’d shop at discount stores and 49% planned to shop at traditional department stores.
Clothing and gift cards were the most popular holiday gift choice; 65% of consumers plan to purchase clothes, 49% to purchase gift cards, and 41% will purchase books, CDs, DVDs or video games. About 40% will purchase toys, 24% will buy food or candy, and 17% indicated cosmetics, spa packages or beauty-related gifts.
Consumers plan on post-Thanksgiving shopping; 33% said they believe the best deals would be available after Thanksgiving (up from 29% in 2011). Some 28% plan to shop on Black Friday, 23% will shop in December and 16% are targeting Cyber Monday.
CVS/pharmacy to hold second annual Family Halloween Party
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy is gearing up for Halloween with its second annual Family Halloween Party, a festive customer appreciation event hosted at all 7,400 stores nationwide.
On Oct. 21 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., families are invited to their local CVS/pharmacy to celebrate and get the entire family into the spirit of Halloween. Children are encouraged to come in costume, and those dressed up will receive one free Halloween gift with any purchase, along with a fun pack filled with $15 in Halloween coupons, including:
Free 5 x 7 photo taken and developed in-store;
$5 off any Halloween costume;
$5 off Hershey’s snack size candies (19-oz. bags or larger);
$2 off any CVS-brand C or D batteries; and
$1 off Unreal candy.
"CVS/pharmacy has long been a one-stop shopping destination for Halloween, with everything from decorations, candy, costumes and party supplies available for our customers," stated Judy Sansone, SVP merchandising for CVS/pharmacy. "The second annual Family Halloween Party is our way of thanking our customers by offering them a fun way to prepare and save money for Halloween with an early celebration for the whole family."
At the celebration, shoppers can check out a variety of costumes and stock up on plenty of sweet treats for trick-or-treating. For Halloween parties and entertaining, CVS/pharmacy has everything from decorations and party supplies to personalized party invitations.
CVS/pharmacy to help Medicare Part D patients during annual enrollment period
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — With the start of Annual Enrollment Period on Monday for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, CVS/pharmacy has announced that it is ready to help pharmacy patients who are enrolling in Medicare Part D for the first time or want to make a change to their current coverage plan.
The Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2012, annual enrollment period is the one time a year that most Medicare beneficiaries can review their current prescription coverage and enroll in a new plan for 2013 if they choose.
"Because Medicare Part D plans change every year and the prescriptions they take may also change, we strongly recommend that beneficiaries review the various plans available on an annual basis to determine which plan best fits their own prescription needs and financial situation for the coming year," stated Papatya Tankut, VP pharmacy professional services for CVS/pharmacy.
"CVS pharmacists are available throughout the annual enrollment period to help patients save money by providing them all of their current prescription information required to complete plan comparisons using the online Medicare Plan Finder. While pharmacists cannot recommend any specific Medicare Part D plan, they can help guide patients through the selection process to choose the best plan for their individual needs," Tankut added.
In addition to the support provided by CVS pharmacists, Medicare Part D informational kiosks are installed in 7,400 CVS/pharmacy locations. The kiosks offer information from a selection of plans available locally to Medicare beneficiaries, as well as the CVS/pharmacy Medicare Part D Starter Kit. This kit contains step-by-step instructions on how to complete a Medicare Part D plan comparison, an overview of new online tools at CVS.com that makes it easier for patients to manage their prescriptions, and information about no-cost flu shots available for Medicare Part B participants.
Medicare Part D Fairs also will be held at select CVS/pharmacy locations in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Raleigh and Charlotte in October and November. The fairs will feature representatives from a number of Medicare Part D plans available in these markets to provide information about prescription coverage options for 2013.
"Covered medications, plan premiums, deductibles, prescription copayments and annual out-of- pocket expenses can change every year. When comparing Medicare Part D plans to determine which plan works best for you in terms of cost, it’s important to consider all of these elements to calculate the total cost of the plan," Tankut stated. "Other important considerations are whether the medications you are taking have changed, or if you’re traveling more frequently or have moved, because covered drugs and cost sharing may vary between plans and from region to region."
CVS/pharmacy also offers online support where patients can access the Medicare Plan Finder and get answers to common questions about selecting a Medicare Part D plan.
CVS/pharmacy noted that it does not endorse any specific Medicare Part D plan and accepts all major Medicare prescription drug plans.